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Leatherface can be a Chainsaw Massacre constant frankness, but his look is not due to his fondness for the faces of others. Factor in the different actors portraying the horror icon, changes in tone and style, and you get a different character design with each new entry.
by Netflix Chainsaw Massacre picks up nearly fifty years after the original 1974 film, with a much older, long-dormant Leatherface. His territorial and murderous tendencies awaken with unstoppable fury when young influencers disrupt his sanctuary. Legendary turned to Illusion Industries Inc owner, special effects makeup artist and creative supervisor Todd Tucker for this iteration of the character.
Tucker guided Bloody Disgusting through the design process and the more sinister updates that set this Leatherface apart.
The artist revealed that the project came at the start of the pandemic, creating further complications. He credits his right arm, Key Designer, Sculptor and Applicator Martin Astle and his incredible team, “Miles Teves did a production design for what Leatherface looks like under the mask. Chris Gallagher created all the dentures for his teeth. John Donahuewho was also working for us in 2D, helped us develop the overall body and wardrobe look. At one point we were talking about the possibility of Leatherface wearing a dress.”
That’s right; we nearly saw a raging Leatherface in a dress.
Tucker explains:It was going to be the dress of the lady whose face he wears. It was all because of his love for her; her outburst is a tribute to her. But that was ruled out. We made drawings to show them what it would look like and gave them different looks for what body style, how thick it should be, thin, all that good stuff.“
The team put a lot of thought into every aspect of Leatherface’s look, from head to toe, with a clear direction from Legendary. Tucker explains, “They wanted to make sure everything that happened in that first movie was consistent with what was happening in that movie, for the most part. Their train of thought was that the first movie is the only thing that exists. The others don’t. Everything in this movie was based on the first movie only.”
Even Leatherface’s look under the mask was considered in the design process. “Miles Teves did some drawings for us of what Leatherface might look like under the face. The idea was to create someone who was the right age and had been pretty down over the years in general and to create something something that a bit of sympathy was attached to. We put little scars on him and we messed up his teeth because we wanted him to feel dirty and give him courage.
It wasn’t long before Leatherface slipped into someone’s shoes, however, and Tucker and Astles expanded on the horror icon’s concept of humanity through their designs. “We created a lot of these faces. They were all silicone faces. They all had to be punched out by hand with eyebrows and eyelashes. There’s a lot of detail in these things to make someone’s face look like it’s just been ripped off. It was also interesting because the studio wanted us to make the face really scary when we started doing it. Martin and I talked about it, and when he sculpted it, he sculpted it to look sad.”
Tucker considered the character’s arc and fought to keep the design.
“We were watching it, and the Legendary guys were like, ‘No, this must be scary. It must be scary. It’s almost like when you took Michael Myers and gave him an emotionless face. If we took Leatherface and made it scary, then there’s nowhere to go from there. But by giving him a sad look and then having him go wild, Leatherface can now feel emotion. because when he’s not killing you, if he’s looking at the ground and thinking, he has emotions now. He’s not always angry. I feel like we really stuck to our guns, and then they ended up going, ‘Yeah. Agreed.'”
Once the mask design was locked in, the other tricky part of bringing this version of Leatherface to life was maintaining continuity during filming through the volume of gore and splatter. Due to COVID conditions, only one artist could travel to Bulgaria when production started. Tucker sent his right-hand man and franchise expert Astles to handle the applications.
“We made wigs; we made dentures and we made the appearance of everything under the mask. We made the mask, and then Martin went over there and fought it on set in Bulgaria. It was hard. It was tricky because the pandemic meant you couldn’t ship anything. It was difficult to get things in other countries. We ended up asking Martin to take a lot of it with him; as much as we could do before he left. We ended up making many, many sets of teeth. I think we did some 20-something faces. Because we knew Leatherface not only was the actor Mark Burnham is going to be in the mask, but we knew that Martin would have to do all these other stunt people as well. They had to be able to adapt them and look alike.
Chainsaw Massacre made Leatherface’s goriest outing to date, meaning the standard non-sequential order of shooting scenes would be difficult to maintain Leatherface’s various stages.
Tucker explained: “It was a nightmare. We created so many different faces because what would happen is that something would happen on pages 50 to 55 of the script, and at that point, whatever blood was getting to him or around him, it should stay consistent from then on and get worse as it goes. to. All these different faces gave the timeline of the story. Every time they came back to another part of the script, you had to pull out the right face that was bloodied to the correct level at that point in the script.
Illusion Industries Inc has put a lot of effort and thought into this new version of Leatherface for fans and by fans of the franchise. When asked what detail Tucker would like fans to notice first and foremost, he replied, “Fans watch everything you do, so for us, we want to make sure that we respect the character itself. Neither Martin nor I took this lightly. I like the idea of Leatherface having a sad look because, to me, it changes the whole ball game. It gives him more scope as a character that people will read into the same way they read Michael Myers’ lack of emotion; which became everything for this character. That face is part of why this character is who he is. I think about how little sadness Leatherface has, and then knowing what he does after. Because at the end of the movie, you can’t even see his face. He is covered in splatters. There is no more sadness.”